Russia will have giant Wing in Ground Effect Seaplanes patrolling the Arctic

Russians have built the vast majority of planes that leverage Wing in Ground Effect. Flying low above the water or land can provide extra lift to enable planes with far more cargo capacity.

The Soviet Navy built about thirty 125 ton Orlyonok-class ekranoplans and they were deployed mainly in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea fleets. They were used from 1979 to 1992. There was also a few 400-ton Lun-class ekranoplan was built as a missile launcher.

In 2015, Russia’s Naval Aviation Chief Igor Kozhin expected to complete a standardized wing-in-ground-effect platform with a lifting capacity of up to 300 tonnes by 2020. There has been some work done but it is still in the conceptual stage.

A prototype of the Orlan wing-in-ground-effect craft armed with missiles is expected to be developed in Russia under the state armament program through 2027.

The giant ekranoplans will fly at about 250 miles per hour and will likely have a range of about 1000 miles. A 300-ton cargo capacity would be twice as much as a 747. These vehicles would give Russia far more control of the Arctic versus other countries.

9 thoughts on “Russia will have giant Wing in Ground Effect Seaplanes patrolling the Arctic”

  1. I love ground-effect seaplanes … they are quite efficient due to higher lift potential, so can go at lower speeds and still stay in the air. Lower speed means better fuel efficiency. It’s a good trade-off between a slow cargo ship and a high speed aircraft. IMO, this would be a great niche for a new form of global international transport.

  2. So a fleet of these would actually be able to maintain travel up and down the coast of a long, skinny coastal state that was finding it just about impossible to put in a high speed rail line.
    If there were any such place.

  3. According to the published capacities of the Lun Class as reference … ‘Operational’ heights amounted to about 25 thousand feet in conventional mode and fifteen feet for ground effect cargo mode … the implication here is that this type of ‘aircraft’ can fly like a regular plane (with regular efficiencies), but that it needs the fifteen feet for the economizing extra lift …

  4. “give Russia far more control of the Arctic…”

    Who cares? Who will ever care?

    Won’t minor chop ground these sea-skimming planes? Seems like many would crack-up.

  5. A nuclear powered ekranoplan is the only way I can think of to maintain fast trans-oceanic travel without affecting the climate. Jet exhausts are considered to have about three to four times more global warming effect than the same amount of fuel burnt at sea level would cause. This is largely because of the effects of putting water vapour higher into the stratosphere than it would naturally go, so using hydrogen as fuel would be even worse. An ekranoplan travelling from Auckland to London, via the Bering Strait and over the North Pole, would take about two days – longer than current jets, but there should be more room and normal pressure, so they could be more comfortable. The jet-setting elite have already lost Concorde. Another few hours en route might give them time for some longer term thinking, or they could use telepresence.
    At the rate it’s growing, air travel could be responsible for a quarter of mankind’s total warming effect by 2050, and I don’t think that will be accepted.

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